The EPO have recently extended their fast-track pilot programme agreement (the Patent Prosecution Highway, or PPH) with Canada, Israel, Mexico and Singapore.
All four pilot programmes will now run until 5 January 2021.
As with all pilot PPH programmes, the EPO reserve the right to end the programme early if, for example, participation levels “exceed a manageable level”. The programme may also be extended if necessary if that is needed in order to adequately assess its feasibility.
Details of the original agreements can be found here.
In order to participate in the PPH between the above patent offices the application must have been filed or entered the national phase at the EPO on or after 6 January 2015.
What is PPH?
The Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH) uses fast-track patent examination procedures already available at participating patent offices to allow applicants to obtain corresponding patents at other patent offices faster and more efficiently. It also permits each office to exploit the work previously done by the other office.
For example, an applicant may base their PPH application on a positive examination report received from the EPO. The PPH participating patent office in receipt of such PPH request will take into account the work already done by the EPO and thus produce their own examination report more efficiently and, ultimately, more quickly.
In addition to these four extended programmes, the EPO has operational PPH pilot programmes with the IP5 offices (the grouping of the world’s five largest IP offices, made up of the EPO and the patent offices of China, Japan, Korea, and the US), as well as with the national patent offices of Australia, Brazil, Colombia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Russia and the Eurasian Patent Office.